Thursday, 07 July 2022

Landowner creates diversion around closed river crossing

Landowner creates diversion around closed river crossing

SWISS financier Urs Schwarzenback has stepped in to help walkers get around the closure of a pedestrian bridge in Henley.

The Environment Agency shut the Marsh Head Horsebridge at Marsh Lock 11 days ago following complaints about its condition.

Part of one of the handrails had fallen off and many of the wooden planks that people walk on had become loose with gaps forming between them.

Metal barriers have been installed at either end of the bridge with “No Entry” signs alongside a notice warning that the structure is “unsafe”.

The bridge, which forms part of the Thames Path and is used by thousands of people each year, could remain shut for two months.

This meant walkers were faced with a long diversion, which includes crossing the busy A4155, and diverting through Harpsden and Shiplake before rejoining the Thames Path.

But now the Schwarzenbach family has offered temporary access to its land, which runs adjacent to the footpath, to provide a short, safe route around the closed area.

Alex Dick, estate manager at Culden Faw, said: “The owners of the land in question, the Schwarzenbach family, are happy to solve the problem created by the Environment Agency’s sudden unannounced closure of the footbridge of Marsh Lock.

“They would like to help the community and users of the footpath and have therefore agreed for temporary access to be allowed.”

He said that users should “avoid wandering off” the route as there is a danger of them getting injured by livestock and horse related activities in the general area.

Mr Dick added: “Our staff will open the gates necessary to facilitate this as well as erecting some temporary signage until the Oxfordshire County Council can get something more official in place.”

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